In November 1929 a group of people, Catholic and non-Catholic, held a meeting in London to discuss the launch of a Catholic society for kindness to animals. It was chaired by Fr WN Roche, a London parish priest. Shortly after that first meeting, in 1930, one of their number, the Very Rev Kuypers OSB, Prior of Ealing Priory [now Abbey], wrote a letter to The Tablet, which provoked a lively correspondence, bringing together more interested people (see The Ark, No. 188, p.29).
The first public meeting took place on July 9, 1935 chaired by the Editor of The Tablet and a well-known literary figure, Mr Ernest Oldmeadow KSCG, who later became the second President and the Treasurer.
Cardinal Francis Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster, suggested that the group should form a society, with his blessing, that would study the teachings and traditions about animals of the Catholic Church while individuals Catholics be encouraged to become involved in the work of organizations that delivered practical help to animals.
Prior Kuypers was subsequently elected to the Council of the RSPCA, the Chief Editor of the RSPCA joined the committee, and The Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare took shape – with the active encouragement of the Cardinal’s representative, Bishop Edward Myers. Mrs Dixon Davies was acknowledged as the Founder and first President, followed as President by Mr Oldmeadow, in whose house many of the meetings took place until it was bombed in 1941.
All meetings since then have taken place at the London Oratory, Brompton Road, Knightsbridge. After the death of Mr Oldmeadow in 1949, all Presidents have been drawn from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church of England and Wales.